“Do you think you are smarter than everyone, Jacques?” asked the young intelligent liberal man with whom I have occasional conversations. He was referring to my deep skepticism regarding global warming, its consequences, its remedies, its very existence, when it comes down to it. He was also implicitly referring to an alleged “consensus” about global warming, of course.
Good question. Let me answer in two steps. First, I don’t think I am smarter than everyone and I don’t have to. Fortunately, the question does not arise. (See Part Two below.) Rather, I think I am smarter than most. It’s not much of a claim. It does not involves much conceit. “Most” means the same as “a majority.” That’s half, or 50%, plus one person. If you divided the human race in two equal halves based on intelligence, I think I would be standing somewhere to the right of the divide. So?
Here is my second answer to the question (That’s Part One – 2): I am much smarter than most in two important respects. I don’t have a religious fiber in my body and I don’t care if I belong to the club or not. In fact, I would rather not join. Many intelligent people, many much smarter than I, have a religious streak and they crave belonging. (The whole history of Communism in the West tells us that this is true.) Religiosity and wanting to belong have a great deal to do with belief in the global warming syndrome, I am sure.
The global warming syndrome is first and foremost a successful contemporary cult: It has its dogma (the world is ending because of our sins) and its priesthood (climate scientists with no scientific conscience, and other scientists who have no training regarding climate issues, a large majority of signatories of climate change manifestos, by the way.) It has its promised Armageddon, the Death of Life on Earth through global warming. But it’s a religion of redemption, like Christianity. We can still avoid the End, collectively, if we repent, give half of our money to the poor and accept future poverty for ourselves and for the poor themselves in the form of much diminished economic activity. The originality of this cult is that its Holy Places are nomadic. Its Rome used to be Kyoto, then it was Rio; today it’s Copenhagen. It will be somewhere else tomorrow (unless the End catches up with us first, of course. )
The cult also allows for individual salvation but only through rigorous methods: Sinners must reduce their individual carbon footprint, whatever it takes. As in some other religious groups, high-ranking members are exempted, however. The manager of the biggest limousine service in Copenhagen says she had to bring (gasoline and diesel) cars from Sweden and Germany because there aren’t enough in all of Denmark to satisfy the demand from delegates to the climate conference. It has now exceeded 1,200 vehicles of which five (5) are electric. (Confirmed by the Wall Street Journal on 12/14/09.) I am not that smart actually so, I wonder why militant environmentalists seeking to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint can’t use the city’s vaunted public transportation.
Last but absolutely not least (see below), the global warming cult has its Grand Poopah. Like the Pope in Rome the Grand Poopah is infallible when speaking on matters of faith. No amount of evidence, and certainly, no misdeeds by his clergy, can persuade him to alter the intrinsically truthful dogma.
So, finally to answer the question: Yes, I think I am smarter than most because I am an atheist, Thanks God! None of the trappings of the global warming cult makes any impression on me. Zero! And, no, I have no desire to follow to the cult. As I have said, I have no wish to belong in general. In fact, I take a small and discreet but nevertheless real perverse pleasure in not going to church.
The global warming cult uses the idea of science the way the Catholic Church used the arts, graphic, statuary and musical, for centuries, as an attractive wrapping for ideas that are basically unsound and unpalatable. The cult betrays itself when its spokesmen claim that there is a “scientific consensus” about climate change. There isn’t and if there were, it would not matter. The way a scientific theory comes to dominate any part of reality is through elimination of competing theories. That’s what happened with evolutionary theory for example. It was never “proven.” Rather other ways of explaining the same observations fell by the wayside and lost almost all their advocates. The global warming cult tries to pass for “scientific” precisely as it combats as forcefully as it can the consideration, and even the production, of competing explanations.
The public allows this to happen because of an excess of generosity, paradoxically. There is widespread confusion about what the holder of any intellectual position owes the public. The confusion is about the important distinction between “expert” and “advocate.” The American public generously allows the latter to operate with the rules intended for the former.
Experts are your doctor, your dentist, your car mechanic, your “chef de cuisine.” It’s generally accepted that experts’ performance should be assessed as a ratio of good decisions to bad decisions. People don’t withdraw their confidence from an expert because of the occasional misdiagnostic, because of a slip of the drill, or because of the rare extra nut on the car floor. It hurts me to say this but even a boring dish coming from a great chef allows him to remain a great chef. In this country, the courts even admit this kind of assessment. “Negligence” won’t get you much; it takes “gross negligence” to cash out.
An advocate is someone who is trying to make you change your ways and therefore, trying to make you change who you are. Because of the seriousness of their endeavor, and,often, its irreversibility, advocates must be held to a higher standard of truthfulness than are experts. Like this:
“If you don’t know what you are talking about, why should I change my life to make it conform to what you preach?”
“If you have to lie for your cause, it’s a bad cause and I am not for it.”
The global warming cult had some of its clergymen in good standing caught telling untruths recently. The so-called “scientists” at the University of East Anglia both showed that they didn’t know what they were talking about and they lied. To make matters worse, the cult did not immediately spew them out but it tried to defend them and to minimize their crimes against truth. End of story. It’s absolutely fair and intellectually appropriate to stop believing any of the cult’s pronouncements.
And I haven’t even touched on he cult’s heartlessness. The best example is turning food crops into unnecessary and expensive fuel, which was sure to raise the price of food for the poorest of the poor in the world.
By the way, I could have saved you all this tedious reasoning. You just have to look at the cult’s Grand Poopah: Al Gore is an ignoramus who believes the inside of the earth is “millions of degrees” hot (I heard this with my own ears); he is a liar on multiple counts; he is a hypocrite who uses private jets and lives in a house 25 times larger than mine, with a corresponding carbon footprint. He is a moron who could not even carry his own state when he was running for President. That’s the same state of Tennessee where is daddy was a beloved Congressman for nearly thirty years. Of course, he, little Al, invented the Internet, but still!
Reminder: My fellow rationalists, there is not much reason to despair. Whatever, if anything, comes out of Copenhagen, will be an international agreement. Contrary to rumors in some right-wing circles, the President does not have the constitutional authority to enter into such agreements. They must be ratified by the Senate. And whatever has been ratified can be un-ratified after the next election.